Summary: Resolving Conflicts Between People
Illustration:Anger is a divinely implanted emotion. Closely allied to our instinct for right, it is designed to be used for constructive spiritual purposes. The person who cannot feel anger at evil is a person who lacks enthusiasm for good. If you cannot hate wrong, it’s very questionable whether you really love righteousness.
Dr. David Seamands.
We never outgrow our tendency to be in conflict with one another. Conflicts may arise even among mature Christians like Barnabas and Paul. Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply over John Markâs credibility that they separated from one another. Paul judged Mark severely on the moral grounds that he was not mature enough to be a trustworthy missionary companion. Barnabas felt that Mark’s former desertion signaled his lack of loyalty to Paul and himself rather than to Christ. Often strong willed leaders like Paul have a difficult time forgiving those who have lapses of faithfulness to their leadership.
Barnabas tended to be more lenient as he was willing to grant clemency to Mark. When both leaders thought they were fighting for the Lord they were actually contending for themselves.
Ask the Lord to help you resolve conflicts in ways that bring the greatest glory to the Lord. Demonstrate the highest wisdom in respect to each personâs gifts, callings and spiritual maturity.
2. Christâs love triumphs over all conflicts when exercised through the power of the Holy Spirit. God used Paulâs sternness to bring Mark to a higher level of commitment. The Lord used Barnabasâ love to give Mark a sense of belonging and restoration. Without the Holy Spiritâs leading the harshness of a person like Paul degenerates into an abusive leadership and the kindness of Barnabas leads to a compromising softness in relationships.
Ask the Lord to help you find a way to help people become Spirit controlled so they are able to harness the good qualities of their God given personality.
3. Mark is able to grow in Christ likeness through this humiliating experience because he was willing to give missionary work a second chance. During the first missionary journey Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reason. Mark refused to get discouraged, distracted or disillusioned about missions or Christian leaders from one bad experience. Ask the Lord to allow you to learn from mistakes and become better from every situation instead of growing bitter, resentful and cynical.
4. The Lord powerfully used the separation of Paul and Barnabas to multiply the missionary enterprise. Learn to trust in the Lordâs ability to work all things together for HIS good as people love God and try to fit into His plans. (Rom. 8:28,29) Many people tend to forget that God is sovereign and is able to turn seeming tragedies into triumphs; defeats into victories; problems into opportunities; divisions into multiplications; humiliations into character building experiences.
Ask the Lord to help you to focus on Godâs miraculous promise to work ALL things together for good ö despite your human limited perceptions.
5. Clarify how much each individual or circumstantial factor is contributing to the conflict. NO dispute is caused by one individual or situational condition. Most conflicts result from complex interactions of a multiple of factors. Help all parties concerned to turn to the scriptures to find positive answers for the negatives.
Ask the Lord to help you to remember that we are commanded to "Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2,3)
6. Recognize the buttons or vulnerabilities that each person has to conflicts. There are some issues that tend to set some people off more than others. Ask God for the sensitivity, discernment and spiritual guidance to know how to avoid the sore spots in certain people.
7. Give your frustrations, disappointments and hurt feelings over to the Lord instead of harboring feelings of anger. Unless we learn to turn our anger and fear to God we are prone to self-destructive attitudes, behaviors and thought patterns. Confess your sins of commissions, omission, wrong dispositions or faulty assumptions about others.
8. Avoid using past conflicts or mistakes of others as weapons against others. Remember, each person will give an account of themselves to God. (Rom. 14:12) Avoid speaking bad about others knowing that God alone is the judge and He has perfect objectivity.
Ask the Lord to help you to be led more by an objective thought process than your subjective feelings.
Conclusion:As a passenger boarded the Los Angeles-to-New York plane, he told the flight attendant to wake him and make sure he got off in Dallas. The passenger awoke just as the plane was landing in New York. Furious, he called the flight attendant and demanded an explanation. The fellow mumbled an apology and, in a rage, the passenger stomped off the plane. "Boy, was he ever mad!" another crew member observed to her errant colleague. "If you think he was mad," replied the flight attendant, "you should have seen the guy I put off the plane in Dallas!"